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Tirana, Durres prosecutions initiate construction permit investigations after earthquake

TIRANA, Dec. 2 – Tirana, Durres and Kruja’s prosecution offices announced that they have launched investigations into damaged buildings a few days after the strong earthquake that left 51 people dead on Tuesday morning. 

The capital and Durres area, including Thumane, are most affected by the earthquake. 

The many buildings that were damaged were part of an investigation launched by the three prosecution offices. 

According to official reports, part of the investigations that have been initiated for the offenses of duty Abuse, Illegal Construction and Providing Illegal Construction Assistance are the building permits issued by local authorities, their implementation by builders, and construction cases where responsible authorities have been abusive and failed to intervene. 

“The purpose of the investigation is to take swift action to clarify the concrete circumstances that have led to the consequences and the state of constructions. The offenses under investigation are those of ‘Abuse of duty,’ provided by Article 248 of the Criminal Code, investigating the bodies that have approved construction permits and whether they have been granted in support of the law, and whether the builders have complied with the permit, ‘Illegal construction,’ provided by Article 199/a of the Criminal Code, as well as ‘Providing assistance for illegal construction,’ Article 199/a of the Criminal Code,” said the Prosecution of Tirana, which also explained that it has requested information The Municipality of Tirana for the already identified dwellings affected by the earthquake and not classified in the appropriate housing conditions.

The first official data released this afternoon by Deputy Interior Minister Rovena Voda speaks of 7900 affected houses and buildings:

Collapsed flats: 131


Seriously damaged houses: 3 811


Lightly damaged flats: 3 149


Seriously damaged mansions: 461


Lightly damaged buildings: 324


The grave situation created by the earthquake was at the heart of a special meeting of the National Security Council convened today by President Ilir Meta, who explained after the meeting “closer cooperation and coordination between all institutions to provide emergency response until full normalcy is restored” was discussed and that support was given” to the prosecution to advance investigations and to hold all those who are responsible liable.” According to Meta, “internal resources and international support should be provided to overcome the serious consequences of the earthquake.” 

International support has so far been immediate. After assisting in the early hours after Tuesday’s hit, 50 foreign experts have been hired to assess damaged buildings to date. 

“This phase will take several days. All areas of concern will be systematically addressed by joint teams of Albanian and international experts,” said today the Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Tirana Luigi Soreca.

By the afternoon, there were 469 objects evaluated by joint expert groups in Durres, Kruja and Shijak. In the end, 180 were found to be uninhabitable and 21 buildings to be demolished in the Durres area.

After the completion of this process, the reconstruction phase will have to start. 

“In a third phase, we will consider how the European Union will help Albania rebuild with a medium to long-term perspective. This discussion will begin on Thursday with the visit of our new European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič. Reconstruction planning will require a thorough post-disaster needs assessment and an efficient donor coordination that the EU is ready to support,” said Soreca.


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